Understanding AWS EC2 terminology

In this blog, we would explain the AWS EC2 terminologies and Instance’s actions. This would help you to understand the EC2 console, terminologies and available action items that you could refer to quickly get started with EC2 service.

If you are new to EC2, then would suggest to go through my previous blog. (link)

Login if you have an AWS account. If not then create your account here (link). The below snippet is a successful login to an account in N.Virginia region.

Lets get started on this.

EC2 Dashboard : This gives an overview of your EC2 service usage information in your region.

Events : This shows the event notification if any for your region. These events could be instance retirements or reboots etc.

Tags : This allows you to add tags to your EC2 resources for better readability and administrative to your infrastructure. You could add a tag name to your EC2, EBS volume, Snapshot, AMI, ELB etc

Reports : This provides detail information about your EC2 service usage and cost information.

Limits : This shows the current limit of your EC2 services.


Instances : This shows all the EC2 instances (Stopped/Running) available in your region with instance attributes

Launch Templates : The launch template contains set of parameters to automate the instance launches on on-demand purposes. As a benefit, It helps you to automate your infrastructure using auto scaling, managing policies and providing best practices across for your infrastructure

Spot Instances : This instance could be more useful for non-critical work at lower price. The Spot instances offers up to 90% discount as compared to on-demand instances. There is no contract for this instance. As soon as the Bid price exceeds the Spot price, you are eligible to get the instance and for vice versa, the Amazon would shut down your Instance.

Reserved Instances : AWS Reserved Instances is best for long-term work load, development and production environment. With this, you could save up to 70% cost as compared to On-Demand Instances. Amazon provides 1 month to 12 months, 12 months to 3 years reserved instance offering as of now.

Dedicated Hosts : Its a physical server where Amazon facilitate you to set up your own infrastructure and restrict others in public cloud. This also helps for compliance and licensing.

Scheduled Instances : This helps to reserve your EC2 on daily, weekly, monthly schedule.

Capacity Reservations : This helps to reserve your EC2 in an Availability Zone for your infrastructure for any duration.


AMIs : An Amazon Machine Image is a blueprint of software configuration through which you could launch N number of EC2 instances in AWS Cloud. Its also called as a master image for virtual servers creation.

Bundle Tasks : This helps converting a Windows Instance into an AMI. This supports only Instance Store instance.

Elastic Block Storage

Volumes : AWS EBS volume acts as physical devices once its tagged to an Instance. You could further use this volume to install and configure the Software in the boot drive of the instance.

Snapshots : AWS Snapshot helps you to backup the data of your EBS to Amazon s3. Snapshot in AWS is incremental. Having said that, only blocks that have changed after most recent snapshot would be saved for that EBS volume.

Lifecycle Manager : This is the most useful EBS service where you could schedule the creation and deletion of your Snapshot without worrying about taking regular backups.

Network & Security

Security Groups : AWS SG acts as a firewall to your EC2. It provides ability to allow or block a specific or range of IP’s. You could manage the traffic in instance’s inbound and Outbound of the Security Group.

Elastic IPs : AWS EIP are also called as static IP which you could associate with an Instance in AWS for easy SSH access.

Placement Groups : This is useful for maintaining your workload within a group of independent instances. You could create a placement group based on the type of work loads in your infrastructure to provide low network latency and high network throughput.

Key Pairs : AWS EC2 uses both public and private key called as a key-pair. The public key cryptography is useful for encrypt and decrypt the login information. AWS public key cryptography allows you to privately login to your EC2 instance using a private key without using password.

Network Interfaces : Its also called as virtual interface where you could attach it to EC2 in your VPC. The Primary network interface would get a default IPv4 private IP addresses once the instance is launched. You could attach multiple network interfaces to a single EC2.

Load Balancing

Load Balancers : AWS ELB helps to distribute the incoming traffics to the backend EC2, Lambda function etc automatically. It periodically connect with your EC2 and send the traffic to most healthy instance in your VPC. You could have deployed your web and application server across ELB in your architecture.

Target Groups : AWS Load Balancers usually use this to decide on which port and instance to route the incoming traffic.

Auto Scaling

Launch Configuration : AWS launch configuration is a template used by Auto Scaling group to launch instances in VPC. The template contains instance launch configuration such as AMI, Instance Type, Security group, Key pair, EIP, EBS details etc.

Auto Scaling Groups : This helps to automate your infrastructure without any manual provisioning. It helps to scale up or scale down your infrastructure based on high or low traffic. It setup scaling quickly and automate the maintenance performance.

I thank you for reading this entire blog and hope, this helps to understand more on EC2 and its services.

Please comment below for any question or concerns related to this blog.

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